Well that didn’t go as expected:
#1 Western Oregon 76 vs #3 Cal Baptist 80
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had 11 boards and five assists; Ali Faruq-Bey was on fire and finished with 26 points; Riley Hawken was solid and had 11 points and five fouls. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell lit it up with 16 points; and JJ Chirnside had eight boards.
WOU never led for any consistent amount of time, at times it would appear Cal Baptist was walking away with it, and then the Wolves would hit shots. In the final minute, we thought “it’s over,” and yet Demetrius hit a three and Cal Baptist missed two free throws meanwhile having no timeouts. WOU had a chance to send it into OT with a two or win it with a three, we agree 100% with the play they ran, but Tanner Omlid missed the lay-up, we believe Ali missed the putback, and then Cal Baptist got their hands on the ball and it was over. Brutal.
It’s especially brutal when you factor in the idea that Cal Baptist was at home for their conference tournament and Western Oregon had to go all the way up to Anchorage.
The UAA Men’s Basketball twitter called us out for our rant, and so we’ll elaborate a bit more: Initially we loved the idea that the tournament was in Anchorage. We were super excited to go, we had a really fun time at the tournament, we liked the idea that the Alaska schools would for once have an advantage, but by the time it was all said and done and we’d been through the back-to-back with NCAAs, we realized that sending it up there isn’t worth it.
It’s a disadvantage to nine teams to send it to Anchorage, and even with the advantage of not having to travel, both UAA teams (men’s and women’s) were bounced in their first respective games anyway -one an upset, one not. It was a good experiment, but in our opinion it failed. We have nothing against the Alaska schools, but when you commit to one of the Alaska schools or MSUB, you’re committing to an insane amount of travel. The GNAC travel schedule is already bad enough for the I-5 corridor schools, so why make it worse?
If you haven’t experienced the GNAC travel schedule… We wouldn’t recommend it. The greatest example that we can give of how exhausting it is, is that we got Hepatitis A just as the season ended one year and we didn’t even realize we were sick for six+ weeks because the major symptom was exhaustion and we simply attributed it to basketball. When we mentioned it to a GNAC coach later, they went “I wouldn’t have realized it either! I would have just assumed I was tired from the season.”
There’s no point to make that exhaustion even worse with an extra trip to Timbuktu. Plus, the Billings tournament was terribly attended as was the Anchorage. Experiment was tried twice. It failed both times. Oh well. These are student-athletes. Keeping it at Saint Martin’s keeps the distraction and missed classes as minimal as possible, the sleep disruption as minimal as possible, and therefore puts us in the best position to have teams ready for the NCAA tournament.
And speaking of the NCAA tournament, as sad as we are that WOU lost in the Sweet 16…. Holy guacamole did we have a blast at the Regional. To those that didn’t make it: If WOU hosts again: GO! Fun gym, fair priced tickets and concessions, good parking, good staff. The school is fairly easy to get to; from Seattle, it was a four hour trip. Other bonuses include the fact that Oregon doesn’t have sales tax + they pump your gas for you! So nice and convenient.
To the West Region teams, staff, volunteers, and fans in attendance: Thank-you again for being so friendly and hospitable! We loved it. The games were so great we wished there had been more of them.
All of that said: the entire season was amazing, we can’t wait to talk about it, player-of-the-year will be up tomorrow, and then all conference teams later this week.
Once again: Congrats and thank-you to Western Oregon for an amazing season & Regional.
What a douzy of a day of basketball, and with that, we’re going to go on a bit of a rant:
A NON-CASCADIAN TEAM SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO HOST THE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT. It doesn’t help the GNAC. It just exhausts all of the GNAC players (and staffers/parents/traveling fans) and leads to low-quality basketball because people are tired. We know firsthand. We made the mistake of going to Anchorage and then had the turn around of this tournament. It is 100% brutal. We work full time, we’re finishing up grad school and have had midterms this past week, we write a time-consuming blog that we exert a lot of effort on even outside of the travel. We know we haven’t been at our best at any of them, and so expecting these guys to play at their best during the most critical part of the season when they’ve just had to trek up to Alaska or out to Montana or down to Nampa is ridiculous.
Conference tournament host schools should consist of: Saint Martin’s.
Lacey residents are really good at showing up even when SMU isn’t playing, the staff knows what its doing, its centrally located, and their arena is off in a corner of their campus and so parking is good too. Literally seven schools (minimum) benefit when it’s hosted at SMU.
The other I-5 corridor schools:
- CU-Portland’s gym is too small & the campus has incredibly homophobic policies.
- SPU is an option but parking there is a complete pain and again: highly homophobic policies.
- Bellingham residents don’t show up unless a WWU team is playing (see: the NCAA tournament).
- Monmouth fans don’t show up unless WOU is playing and even if WOU is playing, attendance is mediocre.
- CWU would be a good host, but it requires a trek over a mountain pass and we’re not convinced of the parking situation.
- SFU we’d love to have as the host, but the passport issue (as in, you need to have one in order to go there) makes us think it’ll never happen.
In addition to Anchorage being exhausting in terms of the travel, we just weren’t impressed with the experience. The arena is very reminiscent of Spokane Arena, which is fine, but not what you really need D2. The tournament was poorly attended, it’s consensus that the arena staff had no idea what they were doing, and while the UAA athletic department itself was really nice, there are a lot of awesome staffs in the conference and so sorry, but that one thing doesn’t make it worth it.
That’s just our two cents. Now let’s talk about actual basketball!
#3 Cal Baptist 72 vs. #7 Azusa Pacific 68
The most boring and sleepy four point game we’ve ever watched. It was back and forth, then Cal Baptist would go on a run, then back and forth and then Cal Baptist would go on a run. Azusa actually reminded us of CWU, in that they stayed in a game they had no business being in and hit shots down the stretch. Congrats to Cal Baptist on grinding out the win.
#1 Western Oregon 77 vs. #5 Saint Martin’s 55
How often are both of the final scores divisible by 11? Who knows, but it’s still fun! This game was insane for the first 28 or so minutes and then WOU hit a few shots and that was that. We’re sooo proud of the Saints, holy heck, you guys stayed in it for as long as you possibly could, but WOU is a very good team and this loss is nothing to be embarrassed about. You guys return everything and we’re so happy that we only have to mourn Matt graduating. Thank-you Matt for a fantastic year in the GNAC!
Saints highlights: Luke Chavez had 22 points; and Rhett Baerlocher had five boards and eight points.
Wolf highlights: Malik Morgan had a full house among six assists and eight points; Tanner Omlid had eight boards and seven assists among a full house of stats; Vince Boumann had eight boards and 12 points; and Ali Faruq-Bey had seven boards. Off the bench DEMETRIUS TRAMMELL had a good game with 14 points; Brandell Evans had seven points; and JJ CHIRNSIDE had 12 points.
Ridiculously proud of the Wolves bench. We’re going to avoid eulogizing the careers of the seniors until your season is actually over, but know that we see you digging deep and we’re proud of you and let’s put it off for another four games! Get that natty. Congrats again to SMU on an amazing season, Luke Chavez had a fantastic game, we’re so happy we get to keep him, and then EJ Boyce did in fact bounce back from the turnovers and he’s another we’re happy we get to keep.
It came to our attention last night that due to an NCAA policy, the WOU redshirts weren’t allowed to sit behind the WOU bench. We get the idea behind that -the travel squad is restricted because of the tournament- but the area behind the WOU bench was the WOU student section, so… With that policy, it’s then implied that WOU athletes aren’t WOU students, and we thought the NCAA was alllll about the student-athlete.
To the players: Again, we know you’re exhausted, we know it’s hard, we know it sucks, we know that it’s not fair that Cal Baptist stayed home for the conference tournament meanwhile we all trekked to Anchorage. We’re trying to speak up for you guys, we believe in what you do, hopefully athletic departments themselves will put pressure on the conference not to let Anchorage host again, because seriously: putting the vast majority of schools at a disadvantage to help one or two makes zero sense.
Again: Congrats to the Saints on an amazing season. We love you, we believe in you, and we can’t wait to see what you do with an off-season of training!
The Sweet 16 preview post will be up tomorrow morning.
See this is why we don’t talk about the Pac-West and CCAA: Because we have no idea. But it was a ridiculously fun day of games, so we’ll give you their results anyway!
#3 Cal Baptist 81 vs. #6 UC San Diego 67
No real idea what happened in this game, but skimming the box score it apparently was back and forth all game before Cal Baptist successfully made a move with about seven minutes left to go and then walked from there on out. Congrats to the Lancers!
#2 Dixie State 65 vs. #7 Azusa Pacific 69
We never saw this result coming. For some reason we were convinced of Dixie State even though we weren’t impressed when we watched them in non-con. Dixie has a history of coming on strong late and they had an impressive conference record, beat Azusa by 15 the last time the teams met, and yet… Holy guacamole this game was good. Each half seemed to pass in about a minute. It was dynamic and amazing and our highest congrats to Azusa, getting the upset. Bon voyage Dixie State, it’s been real, have fun in the RMAC. We think they’re probably more amenable to confederate flags in those parts, so maybe you’ll have to bring that back?
Now for the real discussions:
#4 Cal Poly Pomona 58 vs. #5 Saint Martin’s 66
This game was molasses-y as all heck. Much as the Dixie/APU game went by in a hot second, this game seemed to take twice as long. SMU played smarter basketball than we’ve seen them play all year and this is the right time to do it and they got the win. We think they’re much more tested both via their non-con and their conference schedule, which likely helped. We’re sooo proud of the Saints! A couple of Western Oregon fans were heckling them as they walked out, saying they were scared of WOU, but… No. They don’t need to watch a ton of WOU blowing out Point Loma because oh gee, they met a week ago. We were there to see it, unlike the WOU big talkers.
Saint highlights: Luke Chavez had 16 points; Matt Dahlen had six boards and eight points; Rhett Baerlocher had eight points on perfect shooting from the line; and EJ Boyce continues to prove he’s the best EJ in the conference, this time having 19 points. Off the bench BJ Standley had five boards and five points; and Tavian Henderson had six boards.
Shorter line-up than usual. We thought CPP was out when they were down by sixteen, but they made a huge push and we were like “hmmm…” but ultimately SMU was playing some really good, Chico State-esque defense and it wasn’t going to happen. The only concerning number we see is EJ’s eight turnovers, but… That number is so high it seems like a one-off. He can’t possibly have that many turnovers again, so… Good he got that out of his system against the Broncos. Congrats to the Saints on a huge win and upset!
Point Loma 66 @ Western Oregon 73
This game was a tale of two halves. WOU absolutely blew out Point Loma during the first half, they were up ridiculous amounts the entire time, and it seemed ludicrous that Point Loma could come back. They did. The Sea Lions did come back. They never took the lead and even when they got it within four the game was still out of reach, but in terms of moral victories for a team that largely consists of underclassmen, it was huge. That said: the Wolves got it done and a ‘W’ is a ‘W’ is a ‘W,’ especially in the NCAA tournament.
Wolf highlights: Malik Morgan had 10 points and six assists; Tanner Omlid had 20 points among a full house of stats; Vince Boumann was LIGHTS OUT against his old coach and had 15 points and five boards; Ali Faruq-Bey had five boards; and Riley Hawken had five boards. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell had six points; and JJ Chirnside had six points.
Curious numbers by the Wolves because we feel like their bench was a lot more valuable than the numbers describe. Those guys run like dogs (no pun intended) and harassed the everliving stuff out of Point Loma. Now the trick will be just to stay on the grind. Luckily, we like the match-up they’re going into.
All times pacific standard.
#3 Cal Baptist vs. #7 Azusa Pacific @ 5pm
As we were reminded yesterday: We know nothing about the Pac-West, but that doesn’t stop the president and it won’t stop us. From what we can tell there’s a bit of a rivalry developing between these two teams; they both entered the Pac-West at the same time, they’ve both been really good since moving up to D2 and Cal Baptist is actually headed up to D1, so… Brief rivalry, but who knows? Maybe Azusa pulls the upset?
Prediction: No. Because we seriously have no idea.
#1 Western Oregon vs. #5 Saint Martin’s @ 7:30pm
Part of us is excited for this game and part of us is heartbroken because two GNAC teams facing off in the round of 32. They did just meet a week ago, and oddly enough there should be quite a bit of fuel for the fire. WOU didn’t play nearly as well as they could have, and yet if SMU had played just a bit better they probably could have won and thus won the conference tournament. We love both of these coaches, think they’re the cream of the crop in regard to the GNAC, and so that match-up will be fun to see again.
Prediction: No, because there’s just too many variables.
It should be a great night of hoops. As always: tweet at us & come say hi! We’ll be at both games. Community is the best part of basketball.
Sorry we’re late -we left the women’s game at 8:30pm Alaskan time, our flight got into Seattle at 2:15am pacific time, we had to be at work by 8am, and then almost immediately take a three hour long midterm. To say the last 24 hours have been insane is an understatement, but they were an insanely amazing 24 hours all the same.
#3 Saint Martin’s 55 “@” #1 Western Oregon 65
It felt like SMU was going to pull the upset for a long while and even once WOU kept hitting shots, you could tell the Wolves still felt uneasy. SMU wanted it more. We’re kind of envious of the WOU team SMU faced. When SPU played WOU, WOU was obnoxiously tenacious. For a huge stretch of this game they were flat-out apathetic and we’re ridiculously proud of SMU taking advantage it all they possibly could. We’ll get into bracketology after we go over highlights.
Saints highlights: Matt Dahlen had seven boards, six assists, and five fouls; Jordan Kitchen had six boards; Rhett Baerlocher had five fouls; and off the bench BJ Standley was 5-5 from the line to finish with 7 points; and Tavian Henderson had seven points.
Wolf highlights: Malik Morgan had five boards among a full house; Tanner Omlid had 11 boards; Vince Boumann had a huuuuge game with the double-double of 16 points and 13 boards; Ali Faruq-Bey had 11 points; and Riley Hawken finally broke out of his sophomore slump with 14 points and nine boards. Off the bench Brandell Evans had eight points and four boards among a flawless full house; and JJ Chirnside had five points and four boards.
It’s amazing SMU kept it as close as they did with numbers like they did. We feel like no one really did anything and yet they weren’t out of the game for too much of it. They’re kind of an enigma for us because we believe in such a fundamental style of basketball and that’s absolutely not what they play and yet they keep winning and so… Can’t really deny that. WOU didn’t take the game seriously from the get-go and it’s mildly irritating, but they got it done. We were a bit worried they wouldn’t and the Committee would send the Regional elsewhere, because yes: we think the Committee would do that despite WOU then only being a 2-loss team wiht the next closest being a four loss that SMU also beat.
And with that, let’s dive into the bracketology:
We hadn’t been keeping an eye on it because we believed so firmly that WOU would host the Regional and yet thought our conference tournament had the potential to send GNAC bids to ridiculously wacky places.
In the latest Regional Ranking, it looked as follows:
And we now realize the reason we weren’t keeping an eye on it is because we can define those records for you off the top of our head. We know non-con like the back of our hand and we knew the auto bids could have huge implications.
The auto bids are as follows:
GNAC: Western Oregon
Pac-West: Dixie State
CCAA: UC San Diego
If the committee is anything like us, they wish there would have been one more auto bid upset because honestly… We can’t name eight deserving teams.
- Western Oregon didn’t lose in non-con, but boasts a resume including wins over Point Loma and Dixie State.
- Cal Baptist has a loss to SMU.
- Cal Poly Pomona has a loss to Cal Baptist.
- Dixie State has losses to Western Oregon and Seattle Pacific.
- Point Loma has a loss to Western Oregon and a win over SMU.
- Saint Martin’s has a win at Cal Baptist and close loss to Point Loma.
- Chico State didn’t play anyone in non-con.
- Azusa Pacific has a loss to WOU, but we don’t even count it as a relevant win for the Wolves.
- UC San Diego got the autobid, so they’re for sure in.
- WWU has two ugly non-con losses, but a win over WOU in between those two losses.
Looking at the options… We honestly think WWU should be in. They played no one in non-con, but they had a huge winning streak, have a win over Western Oregon, and an insanely close loss to tournament-bound SMU. When you broach the “who would you rather play?” question, we would so much rather play Azusa than Western Washington. The Vikings should be in. They probably won’t be, but they should be. And we don’t say that easily; we hate their non-con scheduling and think they’re pathetic losers for the way they schedule, but: We have the strongest conference, they have a better record than Azusa, and they have a win over WOU as well as two QualityLosses™ to SMU.
Alright, so… Here’s our definitely wrong bracket:
1. Western Oregon -only loss comes to a team that should be in the tournament.
2. Dixie State -quality losses in non-con, only two losses to tournament bound teams in conference; if WOU had lost to SMU, we bet the committee would have sent the Regional to St. George despite the head-to-head.
3. Cal Baptist -losses come via Dixie, at Chaminade, and SMU.
4. Saint Martin’s -win over Cal Baptist on the road, closer loss to a better WOU team than Cal Poly Pomona.
5. Cal Poly Pomona -their record is impressive, but they still didn’t play anyone in non-con.
6. UC San Diego -what have you done for me lately? Win the conference tournament and play a legit non-con.
7. Western Washington -avoiding the in-conference match-up in the first round; they should be 8th.
Chico State Point Loma; better record than Azusa and do have wins over a number of Regional-bound teams.
Alright, it’s up at literally 7:29, but it is up. Tweet at us!
Hoooooly cow. What an insane day of games. One game was insanely amazing; the other game was insanely boring. You may think we’re devastated over SPU losing by thirty. Au contraire. We’re far more attached to Tanner Omlid than we are either of the two SPU seniors. Next year is going to be our hard year; Coleman Wooten graduating, we’re already crying.
Anyway, we’re actually going to talk about the boring game and then the exciting game because it’s the next morning and we’re still discombobulated from the exciting game.
#4 Seattle Pacific 70 @ #1 Western Oregon 97
Defense wins championships. That score says the game in a nutshell. We’ve been complaining about WOU’s offense and not really trusting it because the numbers have been pretty meh, but this was a great example of where WOU really wins: their defense. SPU couldn’t get separation to save their lives and WOU forced tons of turnovers on top of it. It was irritatingly beautiful.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had 13 points and six boards; Gabe Colosimo had 12 points and a full house; Nathan Streufert had five boards and five assists along with a flawless full house; and Gavin Long had six boards. Off the bench Nikhil Lizotte had 17 points; Hunter Eisenhower had nine points; and Trey Miller had six points.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had 23 points, eight boards, five assists, four steals, and a full house in just 24 minutes; Vince Boumann had 17 points, five boards, and a full house on nearly flawless shooting; and Riley Hawken had six boards. Off the bench Demetrius Trammell had nine points; Nick Nestell had five assists; Janvier Alaby had eight points; Dustin Triano had 12 points; Brandell Evans had nine opoints; and Buster Souza had five points.
Congrats to the Wolves on getting it done!! Super excited to head to Monmouth!
#3 Saint Martin’s 69 @ #2 Western Washington 68
This game was… Interesting. It was another game when SMU was up and we were like “okay, it’s over, SMU is walking, WWU isn’t coming back,” and then WWU started their press and while they couldn’t get it done… Both teams hit super clutch shots down the stretch and it was amazing. It epitomized March Madness.
Saint highlights: Luke Chavez had 20 points and a full house; Matt Dahlen had 10 boards; and off the bench BJ Standley had 11 points, while Tavian Henderson had six points.
Viking highlights:Trey Drechsel had seven boards and five assists; Deandre Dickson had 21 points, 10 boards, and a full house; Trevor Jasinsky had 14 points, five boards, and a full house; Daulton Hommes had 13 points and 11 boards; and off the bench Siaan Rojas had nine points and four assists.
WWU has to be reeling after this one. Shot 60% from the free throw line, lost by one. Make your darn free throws. That said: We think both SMU & WWU deserve bids in the Regional. We’ll dive into it further tomorrow, but… In brief: We’re not convinced of the CCAA & Pac-West, especially because the in-conference records of their 2 & 3 teams are similar, but they lost non-con to the GNAC, so we should own the tiebreakers.
Alright! Let’s preview the championship game:
#3 Saint Martin’s @ #1 Western Oregon @ 6:15pm PST
Alex Pribble and Jim Shaw are clearly the two best coaches in the conference, but we haven’t been able to decide who’s better. Jim Shaw is a Steve Kerr situation where he came in with pieces primed and then has pushed them into the stratosphere. Alex Pribble started from the bottom, now he here.
We really don’t have an opinion on who wins this game. We lean toward WOU just because they won both of the prior meetings, but you never know. SMU will be fighting insanely hard because they’re considered a bubble team. WOU is going to be fighting insanely hard because for some reason hosting is still on the line; the committee would much rather send the tournament to a California school. Super frustrating PNW pride all day. In our heart of hearts we think WOU will win because defense does in fact win championships AND they have the best player in the conference by far, but we’ll still say…
Prediction: Pick ’em.
Should be a great night of basketball. We try to be more Switzerland for the men, but… We can admit the SPU women are ours and in the championship game, so we will be biased and say GO FALCONS on that front.
The games are being streamed on ESPN 3, so tweet at us if you’re watching!
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!!
Was it a great day of basketball? 100%. We loved it. We’re having a blast. Can’t wait to head back to the arena. We’ll talk about yesterday’s games and then preview today’s games and that’ll be that! It’ll be great.
#4 Central Washington 84 @ #3 Saint Martin’s 87 in OT
This game was amazing. Initially CWU was in, then they weren’t, then they were, then they weren’t, then they were and it went to OT and was super back and forth. With six minutes left in regulation we were like “oh, it’s over, SMU has got it,” but… As we always say: CWU is clutch down the stretch. It was amazing. Some of the best shooting numbers we’ve seen out of them. Ridiculously proud of the Wildcats!
Wildcat highlights: Khalil Shabazz had 23 points, 13 boards, and five assists for the double-double; Malik Montoya had eight points; Jawan Stepney had 11 points; Jerome Bryant had eight points; and Fuquan Niles had five fouls. Off the bench Sage Woodruff had 15 points; and Malcolm Cole had five points.
Saint highlights: Luke Chavez had 12 points; Matt Dahlen had eight boards and five blocks; Jordan Kitchen had 12 points and six boards; Rhett Baerlocher had 10 points; and EJ Boyce had five boards and six assists. Off the bench Jared Matthews had five points and five assists and five points; BJ Standley had 13 points; Tavian Henderson had five points; and Cameron Chatwin had six points.
Proud of you Saints. Not entirely sure what we think of this performance and how it compares to what you’ll need against WWU today. The Saints went nine deep and everyone was fairly productive, whereas WWU only goes six deep, but… There’s a talent disparity in favor of WWU and a coaching advantage along with stamina for SMU. Part of us is thinking “Just push the tempo and you’ll be fine and they’ll be gassed,” but… WWU isn’t apt to allow the pushing of the tempo and while they only go six deep, their clutch factor is in the nines.
#5 Alaska-Anchorage 51 “@” #4 Seattle Pacific 64
Oh goodness this game. The Falcons haven’t played like this since before Christmas Break, although our questions about whether or not they could care for an entire 40 minutes was answered as a “no.” At various points they were up by 20+ but let UAA creep within 10 or 12 several times rather than putting the Seawolves away. Great job to the Seawolves taking advantage of the Falcon apathy!
Seawolf highlights: Malik Clements went 5-5 from the line; DJ Ursery was on FIRE including going 6-6 from the line and shooting well from the field to end up with 24 points; and Brian Pearson had six boards.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had five boards; Harry Cavell had six boards and a full house; Gabe Colosimo had 17 points and seven boards; and Nathan Streufert had 11 boards and eight points. Off the bench Hunter Eisenhower had 11 points and four boards; and Trey Miller had four boards.
On the one hand we’re decently happy with this Falcon performance. They rebounded, they largely took smart shots (ahem, Nikhil), but… On the other hand, if they lay off like they did with UAA, WOU is always going to be able to take advantage of it.
Alrighty, jumping into the previews…
All times pacific.
#3 Saint Martin’s @ #2 Western Washington @ 1pm
We’re curious about this game. As mentioned: WWU wins on talent, but SMU wins on coaching. The Saints are going to have to play really smart in order to beat the Vikings. We know they’re 100% capable because they’ve done it before, but the conference tournament is a different environment. SMU played yesterday; WWU didn’t. We’re not sure who that’s advantageous to. Regardless, it is what it is and it should be a good game. SMU goes deeper, but WWU has more capable scorers, so… We’ll see what happens. We could see either team winning by 10 or so, or we could see it going to OT. We have no pulse for this game.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
#4 Seattle Pacific @ #1 Western Oregon @ 3:15pm
As an SPU alum, we’re actually really happy to be on this side of the bracket. While WOU has literally only lost one game, the fact that Tanner Omlid played 40 minutes against the Falcons and no other team speaks volumes. We had the opportunity to ask Jim Shaw about it and the answer was unsatisfying, which makes us think we’re onto something. The Falcons got a good warm-up yesterday, but they cannot let off the gas at all, whatsoever, regardless of the score, if they want to win this game. The good news for the Wolves is that their record says they’ll win, but even if they don’t the Regional should be Monmouth-bound, partly because of their own record and partly because of all of the other GNAC schools records against the CCAA and Pac-West.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
Should be a really great day of basketball.
Be safe, have fun, go GNAC!
Gooood morning! And welcome to Conference Tournament Day #1! It is going to be a positively amazing day of basketball, so let’s jump right in.
All times pacific.
#6 Central Washington @ #3 Saint Martin’s @ 1pm
So these two teams literally just met five days ago and SMU won by seven. Khalil Shabazz was out for CWU and we’re not sure whether or not he’ll be back with them today, but facts are facts and facts include that good teams find a way to win, and that Khalil rarely puts up good shooting percentages anyway, regardless as to how many points he gets, and so from an SMU perspective on Khalil, we’re not particularly concerned. Now, from an SMU perspective on playing CWU again… They’ve already beaten the Wildcats twice, and yet is this the time CWU gets the upset? Maybe. We’ll find out. Our instinct says that SMU is going to win again, but we’ll still say…
Prediction: Pick ‘em.
#5 Alaska-Anchorage “@“ #4 Seattle Pacific @ 3:15pm
The teams split during the regular season, each winning on the other’s home court in the final minutes. UAA beat SPU 67-62 and SPU beat UAA 57-54. If they want to advance in this tournament, they’re going to need to go back to playing Looney-style fundamental basketball, which they haven’t been consistently. If they do that, they have a good shot at procuring the autobid because one thing is for certain: talent is not a question. As for UAA, it should be amazing. They should have the crowd fully in their favor and it should be a great atmosphere. We believe in Coach Oz, even if we still feel like we have no idea regarding this team’s identity.
Prediction: Pick ‘em.
We’re sooo excited. We’d preview the women’s games, but we’d be talking out of our rear end, and so… Good luck to the women!
We’re a little confused how this is the 4th “conference game day #20” when we only had 18 conference game days in our first year of blogging, but oh well! It was a really fun night of games, so… Let’s talk about it.
UAA 59 @ MSUB 52
Close all game before UAA pulled away in the last five or so minutes. Really impressive performance by the Yellowjackets. As the UAA men’s basketball twitter pointed out: SFU, Concordia, and MSUB are now 10-50 against the GNAC schools, but 9-6 against the CCAA and Pac-West.
Seawolf highlights: Malik Clements had 11 points and six boards; DJ Ursery went 6-6 from the line and finished with 16 points and five boards; Josiah Wood had 11 points; and Brian Pearson had 12 points and five boards.
Yellowjacket highlights: Kobe Tereshima had 11 points and six boards; KENDALL DENHAM HAD A LEGITIMATELY GOOD GAME!!!!!! He had 10 points and eight boards. We’ll miss you Kendall! 😘 And off the bench Sven Jeuschede had 12 points and five fouls.
We’re super happy Kendall ended his career on a high note. Congrats to MSUB on getting through a very trying season. It’s over. Have a great off-season. Work hard and come back stronger. UAA -congrats on the win, and we’ll see you in four days!
Simon Fraser 52 @ WOU 77
Prototypical game for WOU. Really pleased with this performance. They took SFU seriously the whole time and yet plenty of guys got good rotation minutes and they didn’t run their key guys too many minutes. Some numbers are still making us raise an eyebrow, but the fact is: WOU is Tanner Omlid and Jim Shaw, and everyone else is just the thatched roof, but they’re winning and doing so convincingly so it’s fine.
Clan highlights: Jordan Muir-Keung had eight points; Kedar Salam had six boards; Tyrell Lewin had five boards; and off the bench Bongani Moyo had six boards.
Wolf highlights: Malik Morgan had 14 points and seven assists; Janvier Alaby had five boards; Tanner Omlid had 12 points and six steals, Vince Boumann had 12 points and eight boards; and off the bench Darius Luborn had six boards and five points.
Congrats to Simon Fraser on a solid season and plenty of hope for the future!
WWU 92 @ CU-PDX 81
Interesting game by the Vikings. Concordia was in it for a while, but by seven or so minutes left in the first half WWU started to walk and that was that. Interesting minutes distributions for the Vikings, little curious about them, but we’ll see, probably nothing.
Viking highlights: Trey Drechsel played 40 full minutes and had 22 points and 11 boards; Logan Schilder had 10 points; Deandre Dickson had seven boards; Trevor Jasinsky had 14 points and eight boards; Daulton Hommes had 24 points and five boards while also playing 40 full minutes; and off the bench Siaan Rojas had 16 points.
Cav highlights: Jarrett Gray had five boards and five assists; Bryan Michaels went off and had 23 points; Chris Edward did in fact have a HUUUGE GAME with a whopping 31 points and 17 boards whoa; and off the bench Tyler Wells had 11 points, four boards, and four assists; while Cody Starr had seven points and five assists; and Hunter Sweet had five points. Good rebounding performance by the Cavs.
To the Cavs: TGIO; thank god it’s over, you got through it, you did it, you were in the best conference on the west coast and you kept grinding -lots of really close losses, which hopefully will switch to wins next year. Congrats to the Vikings on finishing the regular season strong.
CWU 68 @ SMU 75
Hooooly heck, the Wildcats gave the Saints all they could handle and conveniently they have another match-up on Thursday, which will inevitably be a grudge match. This game was insane, SMU only pulled away with maybe two minutes, and is it really a pull away when it comes down to foul shooting? We don’t think so.
Wildcat highlights: Jawan Stepney had 24 points; Jerome Bryant had 14 points and five boards among a full house of stats; and off the bench Cameron Williams had six points and seven boards.
Saint highlights: Luke Chavez went 8-8 from the line and had five boards and five assists; Matt Dahlen had 16 points, seven boards, and five assists along with a full house; Jordan Kitchen had eight boards; Rhett Baerlocher had 10 points; and EJ Boyce had 11 points. Off the bench Jared Matthews had eight points; and Tavian Henderson had five fouls.
Crazy game. Really well matched teams. Wildcats were missing Khalil Shabazz, but… Especially this season, everyone’s missing someone and so… Good teams find a way to win. Is what it is, we’ll see if the Wildcats find their way on Thursday.
NNU 67 @ SPU 56
Huge congrats to NNU, ending the season on a high note. We knew you could do it! Okay, we more of had a feeling SPU wouldn’t do it, but you guys seized the opportunity and got the ‘W’ and life is good. We’re just happy because our baby brother scored on Maurice Jones and Maurice Jones is a very good basketball player, so very exciting.
Nighthawk highlights: Sam Roth had a fantastic 11 boards; Jayden Bezzant was ON FIRE with 27 points; Spider shot super well and had 11 points; Maurice Jones had six boards; and off the bench Carlos Garcia had six points.
Falcon highlights: Hunter Eisenhower had five boards; and Gabe Colosimo had 20 points. Off the bench Nikhil Lizotte had seven points; Harry Cavell had six points; and Nathan Streufert had five boards among a full house.
Not a particularly surprising result. We’re curious to see the Falcons in the conference tournament because this game they seemed so turned off. Admittedly win or lose they would procure the same seed because of tiebreakers, but… Eh. Again: Really, really proud of NNU. Congrats to Maurice Jones on a good GNAC career, and congrats to NNU for trekking through a difficult conference season after a great non-con., Ended on the right note and we look forward to seeing more improvement next year.
To those that ended their season tonight: Congrats on final battles well-fought. To those headed up to Anchorage: We’ll see you soon, and look forward to watching some crazy intense GNAC basketball. It should be a really, really fun tournament -lots of ridiculously well-matched teams. We expect WOU to win the whole thing, but… Who knows?
Game previews’ll be up on Thursday morning. We’ll try and put up some stuff regarding what’s been going on with the other two conferences on Tuesday. We haven’t done as much of it this year because the GNAC did dominate non-con, and so as long as WOU kept winning, we felt and still feel confident that the Regional is headed to Monmouth -regardless as to what WOU does in the conference tournament.
IT’S THE LAST DAY OF REGULAR-SEASON CONFERENCE PLAY!!!!!!!!! To those of you crying because your seniors are graduating and you’re not going to the conference tournament: We feel that. We’ll cry with you. The only thing consoling us about losing Tanner Omlid is that there are many games left to play and then we’ll still get to follow his career overseas on top of it.
All times pacific.
UAA @ MSUB @ 6pm
Kendall Denham has one final game to not disappoint us. We’ll see if it happens. The reason we’re so disappointed in him is because he played super well as a sophomore but hasn’t been able to get back to it the last couple of years. We’d love to see him actually have a point scoring, assisting, and stealing legitimate game. But yeah, probably not gonna happen and so UAA will likely teamwork through it and that’ll be that, because we still don’t know that there’s a particular jaw dropping guy on that team; they just sort of kind of play okay enough together and Coach Oz takes care of the rest.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
SFU @ WOU @ 7pm
We’re soooo excited to see the minutes distribution on this one. We don’t think WOU is going to have too much a problem with it; it’s the final tune-up before the conference tournament and it’s kind of important because which ever team WOU ends up playing will have had a warm-up game in Anchorage on Thursday and so they’ll be a little bit warmer and more accustomed to the court. We’re slightly worried about the Wolves not taking this game seriously enough, but… Eh. Even if they don’t it should be fine.
Prediction: WOU wins.
WWU @ CU-PDX @ 7pm
WWU wants redemption for their blow-out against WOU and also to enter into the conference tournament on the right foot. That said, Concordia has now seen that they can win a conference game, so… Why not win this one too? We seriously doubt it’ll happen, but every fire begins with a single spark. Like Kendall Denham, Jarrett Gray and Chris Edwards were both completely legitimate. It would be nice to see them show that side of themselves in the last game of the year. If they do and the other guys can teamwork with them (notably Bryan Michaels and Cody Starr) it could be an interesting game, but it probably won’t be.
Prediction: WWU wins.
CWU @ SMU @ 7:30pm
The only match-up of the night between two conference tournament bound teams. We’re really excited for this because last time the teams met CWU led for a long time before SMU pulled it out. They’re pretty darn well matched and both have an on-again-off-again point guard in Khalil Shabazz (CWU) and Luke Chavez (SMU) and so it would be cool if they were both on. It won’t do anything to SMU’s three seed to be upset, but depending on what other teams do it could affect CWU. We think it’ll be a close game and it should be entertaining.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
NNU @ SPU @ 7:30
NNU is likely ticked off because of losing a close one to SMU (as they should be) and SPU should be riding high after a nice win over rival CWU. We worry slightly about SPU’s level of apathy -they don’t really have any seniors to be motivated for, they’re in the conference tournament, and “it’s only NNU.” That said… the Falcons lost to NNU earlier this year, so they should be plenty motivated.
Prediction: Pick ’em.
Should be a good night of games. Tweet at us!
Goodness gracious, what an amazing night of basketball! Holy cow.
So it’s official: the teams in the conference tournament are:
1. Western Oregon
2. Western Washington
3. Saint Martin’s
4. Seattle Pacific -even if they lose and CWU wins on Saturday, the Falcons hold the tiebreaker.
5/6. Alaska-Anchorage/Central Washington
Tiebreakers… The projection is obviously that it’ll be UAA and then CWU because UAA is taking on MSUB while CWU is facing SMU, but if both obtain the same result, we believe CWU will get the tiebreaker because the teams split during the regular season and the Wildcats have a win over Western Washington.
Talking about the games…
UAF 69 @ MSUB 59
Fairly close and competitive through the first half, although there was a feeling that MSUB just wasn’t going to be able to get it done. UAF came out far too motivated to allow it and ultimately that was exactly how it played out. The way UAF was playing, you’d think they were still vying for a spot in the conference tournament, to the point that we actually checked the math again, so that was great.
Nook highlights: Jalon McCullough had nine points; Alex Baham had a full house; Davis Kimble had five boards; Joe Lendway had 15 points and eight boards; and Michael Kluting had 12 points and an amazing sixteen boards. Off the bench Amenofis Mitchell had eight points; and Daulton Lootens had five boards.
Jacket highlights: Kobe Tereshima had seven boards; Kendall Denham had 12 points; Zharon Richmond had 15 points; Kamal Tall had six boards; and off the bench Zack Rollins had eight boards.
Huge congrats to UAF on exceeding expectations, continuing to grind, and finishing the season strong. Very proud of you and have a great and productive off-season! We’ll see who returns next year before making any further predictions/statements.
SFU 58 @ CU-PDX 60
Oh goodness, what a game. Concordia came out super strong, but they’ve done that frequently and sure enough, SFU kept it close and continued to battle, and then eventually went up and we were like ‘okay, there it is’ because usually the Cavs let the other team back in at some point, keep it close, and then the other team still wins. Not last night. The Cavs got it done, congrats, shock the world, upset WWU on Saturday!
Clan highlights: Jordan Muir-Keung had five boards; Kedar Salam WENT OFF and had 37 points and seven boards; Tyrell Lewin had a whopping 13 boards; and off the bench Bongani Moyo had four boards.
Cav highlights: Jace Cates had five fouls; Jarrett gray had 21 points; Bryan Michaels had 10 points and five boards; and CHRIS EDWARD FINALLY PLAYED LIKE WE’VE BEEN EXPECTING ALL SEASON!!!!!!! He finished with 16 points and 15 boards. Off the bench Cody Starr had five assists; and Hunter Sweet had seven boards.
Congrats to the Cavs on their first conference win of the year. Clan -you guys still put up some monster numbers, but we beg of you not to shock the world on Saturday because we’ve already made reservations in regard to the Regional being in Monmouth.
WWU 73 @ WOU 89
It was never close. WOU just straight-up blew out the Vikings, no ifs ands nor buts. The good news for the Vikings is that they shot really well from the line and Blake Fernandez saw another five minutes, so… Count the rainbows where you can.
Viking highlights: Trey Drechsel scored 16 points including being 7-8 from the line; Deandre Dickson grabbed seven boards; Daulton Hommes had 21 points and eight boards; and off the bench Brett Kingma had five points; while Siaan Rojas had eight points.
Wolf highlights: Tanner Omlid had nine points, five boards, and four steals; Vince Boumann scored 13; Ali went 5-5 from the line; Riley Hawken had 12 points and seven boards; and off the bench Janvier Alaby had nine points and four boards; while JJ Chirnside had nine points and five boards.
Oddly enough your prototypical game from the Wolves, which doesn’t surprise us too much. The Viks had a “prototypical” game against the Wolves last time, so… They’re even. We think WWU has more talent but WOU is able to utilize their talent more. It is what it is. Congrats to both teams on getting through your last “big game” of the regular season -stay focused on Saturday.
NNU 64 @ SMU 71
This game was a nail biter until the last minute or two, holy goodness. Both teams played really hard, and it’s a game like this that reminds you just how much SMU is doing more with less. They match-up in playability really well with NNU and yet… The coaching is a cut above and sure enough, they got the ‘W’.
Nighthawk highlights: Obi Megwa had five boards; Spider had 12 points and nine boards; Maurice Jones had five boards, five fouls, and 15 points; and off the bench Marko Lepovic had seven points and seven boards.
Saint Highlights: MATT DAHLEN PLAYED LIKE A D1 TO D2 TRANSFER CENTER IS SUPPOSED TO PLAY!!!!! He had 25 points and 10 boards on 10-12 shooting, hallelujah! Jordan Kitchen had 10 points; Rhett Baerlocher had eight points and nine boards; and EJ Boyce had eight points. Off the bench Jared Matthews had a full house among six points and four boards; and Tavian Henderson had eight boards.
Congrats and big thanks to SMU for pulling out the victory and making all of our lives much less complicated. Great effort to the Nighthawks for terrifying us the entire time about SMU not pulling it out.
CWU 69 @ SPU 82
Anyone else would tell you this was not really an exciting game because SPU was up 10 to 12 almost the entire time, but… We freaked out through every minute. We know that CWU has a tendency to hit shots down the stretch (which they did) and SPU has a tendency to turn off the gas (which they did briefly before turning it back on) so… It is what it is.
Wildcat highlights: Malik Montoya had six boards and 11 points; Jawan Stepney had 26 points; Fuquan had seven boards and five fouls; and off the bench Naim Ladd had eight points.
Falcon highlights: Coleman Wooten had 11 points and 12 boards; and Nathan Streufert had 11 points and nine boards among a full house; Gavin Long had 14 points; and off the bench Hunter Eisenhower had 15 points.
What can we really say? Congrats to the three players awarded technicals: Fuquan Niles, Naim Ladd, and Gavin Long. And congrats to the Wildcats on losing their game but still officially making it into the conference tournament!
Really, really fun night of hoops. Tomorrow we’ll see; the games appear far more mismatched, but last game of the season means everyone’s fighting to end the season on a good note, so could be surprisingly climactic.
Have a great Friday, and to the I-5 corridor peeps: Please be safe. It’s supposed to snow again any time now.